You who train more than one dog - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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You who train more than one dog

I would like to know how do you manage to do it from a practical perspective. How do you manage your time, trips to training, work on the club etc.

Are those dogs on similar levels or you wait to put one or two titles in one before adding the other(s)?

I ask because the other day I saw this gorgeous sable male crocodile errr.. GSD pup... I fell in love with. But I know too well I'm not ready to another pup right now, financially, time wise and with Diabla's puppyhood too fresh in my memory. But mainly because I've never owned two dogs at the same time, less trained, and I don't picture myself sharing the special bond I get because of the training with more than one dog at the time. I know it is stupid, it is only I'm never been in the situation and in my head it feels like having two boyfriends at the same time and I got curious

How do you manage that? There is always a favorite? One compensate the weakness of the other? Do you ever feel tempted to abandon the training of one because the other is too much better? Do they compete for you and how does it affect them?

Do not only answer me, I want the thread for open discussion about the subject of training more than two dogs in a competitive sport, If you do not do SchH, but Agility, Tracking or Obedience, your answers are welcomed too.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 12:40 PM
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Re: You who train more than one dog

I have two dogs at the same level with agility obedience and tracking. (They are diffferent ages, but my girl had to take time off because of an injury.)

I take them both to where I train and one stays in the crate while I train the other. What really works out nice is I can train one for 15 minutes, put him in the crate while I train the other and after that the first one is ready to go again. I think it helps with the motivation.

The training I do at home is pretty much the same. I separate them for training. If one gets too loud, though, I may have to send it outside/inside.

I have two crates in the minivan, which is great for offsite, tracking, agility, or at the club.

I'm probably in the minority, but I don't do any serious training until the pup is about a year old. Until then it's just walking nice, sit and come. I think that too much obedience too young burns them out. That's just me, though. Then I start with a combination of agility and obedience and they really have a blast with it. But, I'm not the competitive type.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 10:31 PM
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Re: You who train more than one dog

I have always done best working one dog. I put everything I have, time, energy, heart and soul into that one dog. I am keeping two of Vala's daughter from this litter. I have the time to work 3, but it will be a challenge on an emotional (not sure if that is the right word) level because I will always feel like I am slighting one. Vala is the dog I have to concentrate on right now so the pups will take a back seat for awhile. This is how it has to be. At least right now Vala mostly just needs fine tuning. Anyone who competes will tell you that it is very difficult to work more than one especially if they are both at the same level.

No two dogs work the same so that also becomes a challenge. To switch from one to the other can be difficult especially for people that haven't titled a number of dogs (heck, even for those of us who have).

I am also tracking Nike with the intentions of doing the FH. She may end up being tracked just for fun when I have time instead of trying to work her towards a title. We shall see.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 10:49 PM
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Re: You who train more than one dog

I currently am training two dogs. Nikon is 8 months and he is mainly training in SchH, but we also do normal classes at my other club, and we do the SV style conformation which involves ring training and practice. I also do lots of things with Kenya - agility, various forms of obedience (rally, dog sport, Schutzhund).

Luckily because Kenya is older and is way past the "foundation" period, I can sort of put her training aside until a month or two before the next trial; we don't have to formally train daily or even weekly to keep up. Nikon is still working on a lot of foundation stuff, so he gets training in some form every day.

I don't have a favorite because my dogs are so different and do different things. Besides SchH I want to try flyball with Nikon when he's mature and do Dog Sport after SchH titles (Kenya only does the ob phase). I have no plans to do rally or agility with Nikon like I do with Kenya. We're also going to try dock diving with Nikon and train him this summer. I like training and competing both dogs because they have totally different styles, different sports.

I do sometimes feel like one is getting slighted but it evens out in the end. When I was preparing Kenya for the next rally level and two Dog Sport titles, I didn't do much with Nikon, but now she is done trialing until the fall so I am focusing on him. He was in the mid-west regional show today and we're going to a dock diving event tomorrow, plus weekly club training for his CGC class and SchH training (and each day we do some ball work, a little ob, and tracking).
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 11:01 PM
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Re: You who train more than one dog

I have two dogs, but I only have the time to work with one dog at a time. I had Dena in 3 classes before we got Keefer, and I set her training aside to put him through 2 classes, and then I put her in two more agility classes, and then took level 2 obedience with him.

When I'm in a class I'm spending anywhere from 20 or 30 minutes to an hour on homework most days, and there's just no way to do that with both dogs after working all day, and still have time to get in a workout or cook dinner on a regular basis.

I don't have any plans to compete in anything, but that could change. Right now it's all about Halo because she's young and I feel that it's especially important to put the time and effort into raising up a puppy right, so Keefer will just have to wait. I'm sure he doesn't like it, but that's just the way it is, and it will be his turn again at some point.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 11:21 PM
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Re: You who train more than one dog

Hmmm, this is very interesting topic. My male is four years old and I am considering getting a puppy for schutzhund. I wonder if I can handle it. We are going for his SchH I in about 4 weeks. I figure Nandi is now mature and does not need the same intensity of time (I could be very wrong!).

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-24-2009, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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Re: You who train more than one dog

Quote:
Originally Posted By: lhczth I have the time to work 3, but it will be a challenge on an emotional (not sure if that is the right word) level because I will always feel like I am slighting one.
That is mostly how I feel.

But I also recognize it may change over time, as other had posted "life is rough" even for our dogs and there are time when they have to be patient just as everyone, and even when Diabla is still my little baby probably there will be a time when she will be more mature, her training more solid and I will feel the need of a new time sucker to cry all night and chew everything into sight. Diabla doesn't cry anymore but wakes me at 4 AM with big lovely kisses and is a bit "too much fun" for the moment.

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Akela de Poputchik, my Direwolf; IPO-2, Kkl1
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-24-2009, 03:40 AM
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Re: You who train more than one dog

I also am currently training 2 dogs. Hella my GSD is almost ready for her Sch VPG 1 and Uly is just a short bit of training behind her. So because I missed alot of time this winter we will be shooting for our VPG 1 in the Fall and both should be ready.

However for the next month I am dog sitting and the boxer that is staying with me also get so worked at BH and Bite work so many times I work 3 dogs when I go to club.

(If we did not live on the 3rd floor of our appartment building I would have my next GSD puppy! But I think of carrying him up and down 3 flights of stairs and this is what is putting me off from buying the next one

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-24-2009, 05:29 PM
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Re: You who train more than one dog

I like to work more than one dog, but I like them to be fairly far apart in age and training. When I was getting Kessy's Schh1 I was training a male for my trainer and did his BH at the same time - for me that's a good gap. The retrieves are a pain to teach and I wouldn't particularly want to have to do 2 dogs' retrieves at the same time. I hate starting dogs in tracking, but Kessy was fairly advanced, so I didn't mind doing the male. I was also doing some basic obedience with a few other dogs at the kennel at the same time and I enjoyed it.

I feel more motivated when I have more than one dog to train. I am only training one right now and I feel like I have less motivation.
I do feel like Kessy gets jealous when I work with other dogs, but she is very strongly bonded to me. I always make sure to work her first and then spend some time with her last so she doesn't feel left out. It might be in my head but it's just a feeling I get from her!! The other dogs don't seem TOO phased by it - they will get excited but not on the same level that Kessy does.

I have seen people who can't remember which level of correction to use for each individual dog and so they'll over- or undercorrect at first. Luckily I don't have a problem with that, I adjust well to each dogs' personality and can change my attitude and corrections pretty easily.

I have worked dogs of many different ability levels - from very strong to very weak - and I just realize that each dog is different, and I don't have a problem with that. Each dog will have limitations, and for me, it's always a nice challenge to make each dog perform the best that it possibly can, and not to judge the dogs against each other.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-25-2009, 12:01 AM
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Re: You who train more than one dog

For most of the years I've done SchH I've worked 2 dogs at the same time. In many ways I like it, but in some ways I don't. For me, a lot does come down to the ages/level of training of the dogs as I have found that it is much easier and more fun for me when they are at vastly different ages/levels of training... say starting a pup once one is already a titled adult.

I'm currently working 2 females that are at similar ages and training levels, and will admit I really don't like it much. One of the things I like about working two dogs is the variety of things to do in training, since what I'd be working on with a young dog is different than with an adult. Whereas with 2 at around the same level, it can not only get repetitive but I have found myself having trouble switching gears between dogs when I'm teaching the same things in training, but need to use different approaches for the 2 different dogs.

I have definitely found that one of my weaknesses as a trainer/handler is being able to completely change my training and handling style from one dog to the next at any given training session. From day to day isn't a problem, but working one and then working the other just a few minutes later isn't something I'm very good at. This was really proven recently when I got the crazy idea to trial both of them at the same trials.. especially when they got scheduled back to back so it was put one back in the car, get the other one out and head onto the field immediately.

I just have a hard time making the mental shift so quickly and switching gears from working one to working the other a few minutes later. Enough that DH is often reminding me "you're working Della right now, not Raven!" This is a problem I didn't encounter in the past when I worked dogs of different levels because I was always working on very different things in training due to their different levels. And then I get frustrated with myself for not being able to make that shift to work each dog the way she needs because of my own mental feedback loop. I also have a hard time resisting the urge to make comparisons between the two, yet another thing I wasn't prone to in the past when working dogs of different levels of training. And I did end up putting one on the back burner for quite a while in order to focus on titling the other.

So while I'll say I do like working 2 dogs and will probably keep doing so, from here on out I will do everything I can to make sure they are at different ages and training levels again, not so close to one another in those respects.



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